16 March 2010

She Lives!

Now back to our regular program...

Hi. I'm Sarah Cohen. Infrequent blogger.

It's not that I haven't wanted to blog. Oh, I have. I wanted to blog about Google Books. I wanted to blog about Transliteracy (and don't worry, I will). I wanted to blog about China and the Internet, plagiarism, data....I have a lot starred in my Google Reader.

But I haven't blogged any of those things. Instead, I've been keeping to my self a bit. I haven't been Twittering as much. I haven't been Facebooking as much. I have just been content to stop, look, and listen. And it's been wonderful to read so many interesting things from so many interesting people. I have added a number of new feeds to my reader. I have started following some new people. I have been learning a lot by not always feeling like I needed to comment or produce for myself.

And then today, I read Andy's post asking us what we have to drop. It's a really interesting question for an organization, and Andy does a great job of discussing it in terms of libraries. But it is also really hard for individuals. And that's where it resonated for me.

I love to be involved. I love to generate ideas. I love to participate. It's hard for someone like me to look at my plate and recognize that it is not just full, but too full. That I am wearing myself out. Or not directing my energy in a way that is constructive. As I look at my work, what is it that really motivates me? What is it that gets me excited? What is it that feeds me? There are many parts to my job, as is the case for many of us, especially in small libraries. And I am certainly not in a position to stop doing the parts that are less exciting than others. Frankly, there are some things that I cannot drop. But by recognizing what matters most to me, what excites me, I can be that much more grateful for having as part of my job. Does that make sense? That by recognizing the parts of our job that we love, we can handle the parts that we love less. Or that sometimes feel like they are dragging us down or overloading us.

So, for me, social media was feeling like something that was becoming burdensome to me for a little while. And by stepping away from it, be realizing how much I want to contribute and how much I have to contribute to the conversation, I find myself reinvigorated.

Andy uses a plant metaphor in his post and I'll stick with that, especially being the gardener that I am and it being such a beautiful day in Vermont. Often times, you have to redirect a plant's energy in order to help it flourish. That is exactly what I am suggesting here. Find out what makes you tick. Honor it. Cherish it. And then put that energy and awareness to use in your work, in your teaching, in your interactions, in your less-than-favorite tasks. Andy is right: some things need to be dropped. David Lee King is right: some things need to be re-prioritized. But there is also a part to the conversation that is about directing your energy and directing your mind. Let's not forget to put that into our equations as well.

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